Beating Extraordinary Talent


Extraordinary talented leaders wins most of the time. But talent alone is never enough to achieve success or influence. Talent must be combined with some other essential traits. Without those traits your extraordinary talents will only take you so far. Three traits that can beat extraordinary talent include:

Hard Work

Professional Basketball player Kevin Durant said, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Talented leaders who are not willing to put in the hard work will soon plateau in their leadership. The results of a leader who has plateaued can be devastating for everyone. It can prevent the team and themselves from performing at high levels, reaching personal potential, and negatively impact the organization. You have to remember that the people in your area of influence will follow your example.

However, the opposite is true when a leader is willing to work hard. The example of a hard working leader will influence those around them to be productive and perform at high levels. This only happens when a leader chooses to work hard. Talented leaders need to work hard and not rely only on their talent. The road to success or achievements is paved with hard work.


The dictionary defines perseverance as, “Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.” Perseverance is about making forward progress even during the demanding, difficult, and hard seasons of life. The leaders who have extraordinary talent but fail to persevere will soon burn out. You should adopt nourishment centers into your life so you can persevere through every season you encounter. Nourishment centers are the things that stir your heart, bring encouragement, and refuel you with energy. Here are 10 nourishment centers to consider adopting into your life:

1. Soul- This is about doing things that lift your spirit and soul, like spiritual practices.
2. Hope- This is about reflecting on the dreams and hopes you have about the future.
3. Home- This is about spending time with those you love and care about.
4. Giftedness- This is about working in areas of personal strengths and talents, causing you to have feelings of fulfillment.
5. Memories- This is about taking time to reflect on the positive and good memories you have.
6. Music- This is about regularly listening to the songs you like and enjoy, the ones that stir your heart and emotions.
7. Thoughts- This is about filling your mind with good content, like personal growth or development books.
8. Experiences- This is about taking time to have new experiences with friends and family.
9. Friends- This is about developing an inner circle of close friends who will support and encourage you.
10. Recreation- This is about taking time to relax and do the recreational activities you enjoy.


I was on the Varsity Cross Country team during my 4 years of High School. My team was one of the top teams in a very competitive school district. During those years our team had a lot of accomplishments. Winning the district championship one year, competing in the State finals two different times, and wining several small and big races throughout the years. One of the main reasons we won was due to each individual on the team being disciplined. We had the discipline to practice and train year around (even when we did not feel like it) so we would be prepared for the race season and each race we competed in.

Whether you want to become a world class athlete, published author, renowned motivational speaker, competent leader, or build a fortune 500 business the irrefutable element required is discipline. The discipline to do the things you need to do on a daily basis so you can get the results you want. Talented but undisciplined leaders will never win (in the long run) compared with those who maintain the habit of being disciplined.

Great talent along with the above traits move a person toward monumental levels of achievement. Talent is never enough, you must work hard at what you do, persevere through every season, and cultivate the habit of being disciplined.

Question: Can you add to the list of what beats extraordinary talent?

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33 thoughts on “Beating Extraordinary Talent

  1. Reminds me of the book, Talent is Never Enough by John Maxwell. Well said on discipline. As a kid in school, my mom required me to practice writing each of my weekly spelling words 5 times each every day. I learned to spell really well, and on the day of the test, I had no fear. I still reflect on that valuable lesson I was taught.

  2. Dan, really good list of “nourishment centers”!

    Those who achieve great things have a strong self-concept:

    * The confidence they can achieve what’s important to them

    * The self-esteem to keep going despite criticism or failure

    * A vision that challenges the status quo..

  3. Great list, Dan. I’ve learned along the way that sometimes working smarter is as valuable as working hard and thinking outside the box, or looking at things from a different perspective, is important too. Good and thought provoking post, Dan.

  4. Great list, Dan. I like the idea of Nourishment Centers. It is important that leaders nourish themselves, or it can lead to burnout. Perseverance is so important, as well. There have been many bright lights that have burned out for a variety of reasons.

    I would add integrity to the list. I’ve seen many talented leaders (who work hard and are disciplined) fall because of a lack of integrity (both in their personal and professional life). One of those impacted thousands of people. As leaders, we need to realize the impact we have both of our good decisions and not-so-good ones. It should be both challenging and humbling with that kind of responsibility and reach that we potentially have.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the nourishment centers. Adopting some of them into our life is so crucial. Great addition, integrity is at the foundation to successful leadership. Thank you for sharing your wisdom here.

  5. I don’t know if it beats talent but a positive attitude is definitely a great supplement. Not only does it influence the people around and under you, but it enhances your work.


  6. Great list! I really love the emphasis on rest here. Often we think productivity is only harnessed in doing. Resting can be a highly productive element in shaping our capacity for leadership.

  7. Great list, I like the Durant quote.
    I’d add FAITH.
    My talent can only take me so far. But believing in God can take me further than I could ever imagine. Nothing is too big for God. Nothing is impossible for Him and through Him, I can do all things (Phil 4:13). That being said, God’s not a genie and I can’t treat Him as one.

  8. Great list! I especially liked how you mentioned music as a nourishment center. I love listening to great music – it helps me relax and focus. It’s also a great way I can connect with my family.

  9. If I had to add a trait to this list I would put a willingness to experiment. Don’t get me wrong, I think perseverance is great, but if you keep doing the same things over and over again just for the sake of perseverance, you won’t get anywhere. It’s about trying new things to see what works. Keep doing what works and get rid of the rest. That will get you far.

  10. I don’t consider myself an official leader but do feel I have extraordinary talent. I also work hard and have discipline. And as of now I’m still persevering.

  11. Great three points that speak volumes. I often say, I am a simple woman. A few have told me I was putting myself down. I have never felt that way, since if anything extraordinary is to happen in my life it has to be of God. When I first got saved I begin to learn the difference between talents, gifting and the bigness of God to blend the two into something for His glory through those three points you wrote about. Just having that understanding gave me courage to do all the things God brought my way. I would add “wisdom” on how to use your points in what ever season we are in or what ever we are doing.

    • Great addition, wisdom is so essential. God plus whatever gifts and talents we have equal an extraordinary life. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this post.

  12. First point really jumped out. Effort and hard work definitely bring about success in leadership. Additionally, effort and hard work invested in people is even more effective for leaders.

  13. It’s hard to top this list, Dan. I can’t think of much else to add! If I had to add one thing, it would be a humility to work on your flaws. That goes hand in hand with hard work and discipline.